Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘diet’

Cholesterol Meds… Yes or No?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

As a chiropractor, nutritionist, and acupuncturist, I often get questions from my patients that, I think, are designed to pit my answer against that of their medical doctor. Let me start this by stating that I don’t think this is the way we should approach these kinds of questions. Your health care team should all be questioned with an open mind, and their answers considered, before making an informed health decision. Your health care professionals all come from different backgrounds, philosophies, and different specialties. Take advantage of the knowledge you are paying them for, and make the decision that is best for YOU. Don’t forget, the original Latin term for doctor referred to “teacher,” not dictator. Your health, methods of treatment, and all activities and decisions that affect your outcomes are your choice… and responsibility.

I’ve said for years that with prescription rights, statin medications are the one class of pharmaceuticals that I would never consider prescribing for my patients. However, with further research, my position has changed… slightly. First, we must define what is our purpose for considering statin use. Is it to lower cholesterol? No… cholesterol levels are merely one set of numbers used to evaluate how our body is functioning. The theory is that lowering one’s bad cholesterol levels will decrease one’s risk of death, heart disease or stroke. Therefore, the use of statin medications must be determined based on weighing how well it achieves those goals versus the risk of negative effects as a result of taking them.

Ultimately, the decision lies with the patient and I feel it would be my responsibility to clearly define the pros and cons of statin use. For example, I would point out that 1 of every 50 people who use statins develop diabetes. I would also point out that 1 in 10 develop muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis). About 1 of every 100 develop significant liver damage. Those are pretty strong negatives.

Now for the examination of proven benefits… For those with no history of heart disease,

  • 98% saw no benefit
  • 0% were helped by being saved from death
  • 0.96% were helped by preventing a heart attack
  • 0.65% were helped by preventing a stroke

For those with known heart disease,

  • 96% saw no benefit
  • 1.2% were helped by being saved from death
  • 2.6% were helped by preventing a repeat heart attack
  • 0.8% were helped by preventing a stroke

As a public health measure, this suggests that statins may have an identifiable effect, because while the chances of any one individual being affected are small (19 out of 20 people who took the drugs for five years saw no effect), when one million people who already have a history of heart disease take them roughly 45,000 people saw some benefit, while another 6,000 may see a harm.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior scientist at MIT, believes statins should never be given to anyone, but being generous one might justify the only two subgroups of people that might benefit from statins as:

  • Those at very high risk of heart attack (based NOT on your cholesterol levels, but on your heart attack risk factors)
  • Those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes you resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol

If you are not in one of those two categories, statin drugs are likely an unnecessary health risk you’re better off avoiding — and you definitely want to avoid the trap of taking them to lower your cholesterol when your cholesterol is actually well within a healthy range.

A better question would be: What are the alternatives to statins that will optimize my cholesterol levels and decrease my risk of heart disease, and stroke?

The most effective way to optimize your cholesterol profile and prevent heart disease is via diet and exercise. It’s actually quite simple too, as 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease at the same time.

The primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol, without the need for statin drugs that may damage your liver and your heart, include:

  • Reduce, with the plan of eliminating grains and fructose from your diet. This is the number one way to optimize your insulin levels, which will have a positive effect on not just your cholesterol, but also reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease, and most other chronic diseases. Use a nutrition plan to help you determine the ideal diet for you, and consume a good portion of your food raw.
  • There is also very good evidence that following a “Mediterranean Diet” (interesting because this diet emphasizes whole grains… be sure to choose the particular nutritional plan that fits for your metabolism) is more successful at normalizing cholesterol levels and decreasing heart disease than using statin medications, and achieves it without any negative effects.
  • Get plenty of high quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (trans fats, vegetable oils) to balance out your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.
  • Include heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
  • Exercise daily. Make sure you incorporate peak fitness exercises, which also optimizes your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
  • Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Simplest Workout

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fresh from our “Keep It Simple” mindset, is this recommendation as to the most simple way to get in shape, lose weight, increase energy, etc. There are only four steps (like I said, SIMPLE). Are you ready? Let’s go:

  1. Stop Using Machines – Workout machines are great for isolating an individual muscle group if you have a specific goal in mind. For example, if your only goal is to build a great big bicep, then use the curl machine which will isolate the bicep and brachialis muscle… also know as the “Curl Machine.” However, doing curls with free weights, dumbbells, curl bars, etc. makes you use many other muscles to stabilize and balance. This means you fire more muscles, burn more calories, strengthen more small stabilization fibers… ultimately, you get a ton more out of your workout than if you isolate with machines. How about another quick, simple tip? Fill an old gallon milk jug with water and you’ve got the perfect homemade dumbbell complete with handle that weighs just over 8 pounds.
  2. Water, Water, Water – Being dehydrated MAKES YOU FAT. Muscle glycogen (sugar energy created from carbohydrates you eat) is stored along with water. For every gram of glycogen in the muscle, there should be three of water. Dehydration forces glucose to remain in the bloodstream instead of muscle until it reaches the liver for overflow storage. When the liver is full, the glycogen (sugar) has no place to go but your fat cells. Think about it… this goes for ALL of the toxins we put in our body. The liver can only work so fast. Once it is at capacity, the only option is to store things that need processing until they can be dealt with. Water facilitates this process. Picture trying to flush a full toilet with no water in it… that’s what you’re doing if you’re not hydrating properly.
  3. Set a specific goal, and stick with it – Don’t be so vague. “I want to lose weight… I want to get stronger… I want to be healthy.” Yeah, yeah… platitudes. Be specific. “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next two months.” … or, “I want to bench press 100 pounds in three months.” … or, “I want to run a 5K in six months.” Usually, small achievable steps are more motivating and successful than big lofty goals set too far out in the future. Always keep the big goals in mind, but focus on the step in front of you.
  4. Work the Core – Not just sit-ups and crunches. Work the whole thing. Get a swiss ball, play tennis, do some planks,… whatever. Just make sure you integrate the whole core in your routine. Nobody wants a six-pack ab… that looks like it’s surrounded by a giant hot dog bun. Not only will it look silly, but it’s incredibly unstable.

Look… we’ve had this discussion on this blog time and time again. Doing the right thing doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to involve expensive diet plans, weird foods, personal trainers, boot camps, videos, etc. Do these things help? Sure! If they are what motivates you. However, in the end, they all have a common core of tenets. Eat good food, burn more calories than you take in, drink water, and be active. BOOM!

Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Stretches & Exercises | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can Chiropractors Help Stuff That Aren’t In the Back?… or, What Is “Chiropractic?”

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, September 16, 2013

Got a great call this morning that got me to thinking… Backstory: A friend of mine, whose wife has been a patient for a couple years, called and told me, “Ya know… my knee has been killing me for a long time and I never really thought that you might be able to do something about it.” Following this call, I have two conclusions.

First, I am grateful that he finally asked. The mere fact that he called meant that he had either been told by someone else that he should ask me, or he finally had a epiphany that he should ask if I could help.

Second, I am concerned that after 118 years, the general public still thinks that chiropractors are just back doctors. Seriously, this gentleman has been a good friend of mine for more than five years. And yet, facing a long-standing and significant condition that was extra-spinal, he hadn’t thought to ask me about it until now.

So, let’s get down to it. “Chiropractic” in it’s derivative form means “done by the hand.” It doesn’t mean done on the back, or done on the neck. Historically, Chiropractic has become known as a method of healing that values and encourages the natural healing ability of the body, and the optimization of the body’s ability to do so. Throughout the past century, our profession has proven time and again that we are capable of treating and improving the health of millions of patients with a myriad of conditions. Plantar Fascitis? Check. Achilles’ Tendinitis? Check. Chondromalacia Patella? Check. Sprained Meniscus? Check. Osgood-Schlatter’s? Check. Hip bursitis? Check. Herniated disk? Check. Menstrual Cramps? Check. Constipation? Check. Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Check. Kidney Stones? Check. Gall Bladder congestion? Check. Difficulty breathing? Check. High Blood Pressure? Check. High Cholesterol? Check. Overweight? Check. Thyroid Dysfunction? Check. Common Cold? Check. Rotator Cuff Tear? Check. Tennis Elbow? Check. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Check. Trigger Finger? Check. Torticollis? Check. Cluster Migraine? Check. Tension Headache? Check. …. Shall I go on?

Have all of these conditions been helped and treated by a chiropractic adjustment? Yes and no. If you subscribe to the “straight chiropractor’s” definition of chiropractic, then chiropractors are nothing more than technicians who pop joints. If you subscribe to the “mixer chiropractor’s” definition of chiropractic, then you define the adjustment as the only crucial element to the treatment plan that is assisted by complimenting, external, therapeutic procedures.

However, a realistic definition that complements the true and original derivative “done by the hand,” does not have to explicitly imply that the single most important factor of our care is a physical adjustment. I suggest that a more accurate correlation refers to our ability to take “a hands-on approach.” It is my opinion that, as with all doctors, it is not our actual “hands” or the service we provide that is our most important asset. Our most important asset, and what makes us worthy of being doctors, is our intellect. It is our ability to examine our patients, have a thorough consultation regarding current symptoms and history, and ultimately arrive at a working diagnosis.

Arriving at a working diagnosis allows us to then use our intellect, education, and experience to suggest an appropriate treatment plan. With our knowledge of how the body works, we know the power and outcomes secondary to the chiropractic adjustment, therefore we often incorporate that in our treatment plan. However, we also recommend proper diet, exercise, diagnostic imaging, blood tests, appropriate supplementation, physiotherapy, and rehabilitative therapy. We apply supportive tape or bracing to damaged joints and muscles. We use kinesiotape to improve circulation and minimize further injury. AND, we refer to our health care counterparts when necessary for concurrent and/or more appropriate care.

There is a significant, country-wide push right now for an expanded role for chiropractors in the health care market. For those who wish to go through the additional training and certification, some wish to have the ability to incorporate more traditional Western treatments, such as pharmaceutical intervention. I, for one, don’t have a problem with that. By our very nature and philosophy, the natural and innate power of the human body to heal itself will still be respected. The chiropractic adjustment will still remain a critical therapeutic measure that we can provide to our patients. However, we must not ignore the benefits that can be achieved through the provision of non-traditional methods of treatment. The world is not flat, and sometimes antibiotics are necessary. The Earth is not the center of the Universe, and sometimes muscle relaxants assist in the healing process.

So, in conclusion, chiropractors are not “back doctors.” We are not “neck doctors.” If an individual chiropractor wants to limit his practice to a specialty practice dealing only with backs, or necks, or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or headaches, or whatever… more power to ya! However, it is unfortunate that some would seek to pigeon-hole the entire profession to their own desires. It is time to expand our practice models, and provide for our patients regardless of historical traditions. It is time to join the 21st century and encourage the freedom to grow and offer more to our patients. It is time to inform the public that we can treat knees, ankles, ear infections, stomach problems, shoulder injuries, chronic pain conditions, and more. It is time to be the first doctor that comes to mind when ANY health condition presents itself.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health, Other Pain Conditions, Political | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Eat… Think… and Be Healthy… aka: Use Your Freakin’ Head

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Let’s face it… we all talk about “getting in shape,” or “eating better,” or “losing a little weight,” or “getting a little more exercise,” or “drinking more water,” or “going for a walk,” or blah, blah, blah.

So, why is it that Americans are fatter than ever? Why are we less healthy than previous generations? Why is our life expectancy decreasing? Why is prescription medication use at an all-time high? If those prescriptions work so well, why do the rates of heart disease and diabetes continue to rise? We live with these facts… despite a multi-billion dollar fitness and self-help industry, and by far the highest health care costs in the world. WHY?!

Because, like politicians, everyone has an excuse.

I’m too busy. That doesn’t taste good. It hurts when I exercise. I’ll start next week. I was under a lot of stress. Those Pringles just looked too good. We had company. It was a holiday. No one else will do it with me. I’ve tried before. I don’t know where to start. On and on and on, you can keep talking yourself out of it and making excuses, but don’t kid yourself. You’re not fooling anyone… least of all yourself. So, enough is enough. The excuses stop now. Here’s how we’re going to do it:

  1. Use your freakin’ head. The first step towards true improvement is to start thinking honestly. You’ll never make anything better by lying to yourself. Be honest with yourself when you choose Froot Loops instead of eggs. Don’t make excuses when you choose chips instead of an apple. These are YOUR choices. With very few exceptions, if you are unhealthy, it is a direct result of the choices you have made and continue to make. Don’t flit through your day ignoring the consequences of your choices. You are not a politician. You’re not going to be able to do whatever you want, blame it on someone else, and let someone else pay for it. It’s on you. You are the one with high blood pressure. You are the one who ends up with diabetic neuropathy. Think.
  2. It’s not rocket science. Too often, I hear people who put off making life changing decisions merely because they’re so damned confused about their options. Low fat or good fats? Gluten-free or Mediterranean? Paleo or HCG? Salt-free or blazing spice? Weight Watchers or Slim-4-Life? At the end of the day, all of that is just hub-bub. If it helps you to follow one of those “diets,” then pick ONE and have at it. However, for the most part all you need to do is follow Step #1. Use your head. You know what’s healthy and what’s not. Don’t worry about it so much and just start making smarter choices. You know when you’re eating too much… put the fork down! You know when you shouldn’t eat something… don’t do it. You know when you’re being lazy… get off your butt.
  3. Two simple food rules. First, if it’s white, there is almost no nutritional value to it. And don’t let them fool you with food coloring. Read the ingredients and if you see “bleached flour,” it’s a white food that they’ve doctored up. For a more clear discussion of what to look for on labels, click here. Second, the faster a food will rot usually means more nutritional value. For example, fresh tomatoes that will last a week are much healthier than canned tomatoes that will last for three years. The hierarchy is thus: Fresh > Frozen > Canned > Boxed.
  4. A coffee cup will help you shed pounds. A standard coffee cup is 8 ounces. Now that we’ve decided to eat better foods, drink one coffee cup of water about a half hour before each meal. Not only will you increase your water intake for the day, but you’ll diminish your appetite making it easier to eat proper amounts. Stop over-eating! And, by the way… Never, never, never “Supersize” your meal at the drive-thru. It’s ridiculous and unnecessary.
  5. Place a Swiss ball in your front room. Sit on it while watching TV. You’ll soon find yourself doing shallow bounces, which means you’re contracting and relaxing muscles. This is good for the core, good for balance, and is a simple calorie burner that keeps the hypothalamus burning. As you get comfortable, start throwing in some clockwise rotations followed by counter-clockwise rotations. During commercials, roll down and do some crunches. When you show comes back on, roll back up and enjoy. Before you know it, you’ve done 30-60 minutes of exercise.

How’s that for an easy start? No more excuses! When in doubt, refer to Rule #1… Use Your Freakin’ Head.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Brief Post on Alkaline Foods

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, October 1, 2012

Today we have another guest blog post. This article was submitted to us from an author named Christina Sanders. I’ve not been able to find much info about her, but the article was pretty well written. In my search, it looks like Ms. Sanders is most likely a student at BYU who likes food, boutique fashion, and obviously writing. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Some of you who follow health trends or diets may have heard of balancing the pH levels in your body by eating certain foods to improve health or energy. So what does this mean exactly? And is there any evidence that these foods improve health? This post explores both of these topics.

What is pH and how does it affect your health?

pH refers to the alkaline-acid balance in our bodies. When the pH levels in the body become unbalanced, either by becoming too acidic or too alkaline, the body removes the acidic tissue through its regulatory systems: respiration, excretion, digestion and cellular metabolism. If the alkaline-acid balance deviates too much, cells in the body can be poisoned by their own toxic waste and die. The body does not tolerate extended pH imbalances, so those with a pH imbalance tend to have less energy and may even get sick.

Though the topic is still debated, many believe that the foods we eat affect the pH balance in our bodies. Some diets, like the alkaline diet (www.proalkaline.com), encourage eating high alkaline foods 80 percent of the time and acidic foods no more than 20 percent of the time. Whether you’re interested in following a strict dieting plan or not, certain high-alkaline foods have been shown to have health benefits.

Foods to Try

The following foods are considered alkaline, meaning they increase the alkaline to acid ratio in your body. They also have proven health benefits.

Almonds

According to an article for the scientific journal, Metabolism, almonds can reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The study also found eating almonds may help type 2 diabetics by reducing the glycemic impact of carbohydrates to the body. On top of those benefits, almonds contain high amounts of protein without being acidic like many meats and dairy products.

Flax Seed Oil

While flax seed oil sounds like a strange health food, especially since many of us try to reduce our oil intake, flaxseed oil actually provides similar benefits to fish oil. Produced from the seeds of the flax plant, it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and prevent chronic illnesses, such as arthritis. According to an article from the University of Maryland Medical Center, flaxseed may be helpful in treating or preventing high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer.

Alfalfa Grass

Grass?….Gross! Don’t let the name be a turnoff for you. Alfalfa is a plant that originated in Asia, and you may have actually seen it before in the form of sprouts in your salad or sandwich. High in vitamins, as well as calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc, Alfalfa has anti-inflammatory properties, may help treat auto-immune disorders and protect against radiation damage.

A little about me:

Christina Sanders writes for several blogs and loves sharing information she has researched to help others live happy, healthy lives. As someone with two chronic illnesses, she strives to learn all she can to understand the body and stay healthy.

From Dr. Gray: As many of you have read from me before, I’m not totally sold on the idea of an “alkaline diet.” If all it took to make everything healthy were to increase the alkalinity of the food we were taking in, then all we would have to do is add a teaspoon of baking soda to our plates. Obviously, that is ridiculous. As usual, I will retain an open mind and will continue to read and research these interesting topics that our readers bring up. For now, know that it is balance and nutritional content that matters most in our diet.

Think of the Three Little Pigs… each spoonful of food you place in your mouth is either straw, wood, or bricks. With what do you want to build your home (your body)? Also, if you choose “bricks,” then keep in mind that bricks must include mortar, a good foundation, and careful application. We must choose those foods that supply our bodies’ the nutritional building blocks it needs to build a strong, long-lasting structure. The building blocks we choose also determine the supporting items that are necessary.

Anyway, thanks to Ms. Sanders for her post. We look forward to reading more from her in the future.

-Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

More Facts About The Cholesterol Myth

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My last article referenced the myth regarding cholesterol, saturated fats, and heart disease. Well, here are some more facts to chew on:

  • There’s never been a single study that proves saturated fat causes heart disease.
  • As heart-disease rates were skyrocketing in the mid-1900s, consumption of animal fat was going down, not up. Consumption of vegetable oils, however, was going up dramatically.
  • Half of all heart-attack victims have normal or low cholesterol. Autopsies performed on heart-attack victims routinely reveal plaque-filled arteries in people whose cholesterol was low (as low as 115 in one case).
  • Asian Indians – half of whom are vegetarians – have one of the highest rates of heart disease in the entire world. Yup, that fatty meat will kill you, all right.
  • When Morgan Spurlock tells you that a McDonald’s salad supplies almost a day’s allowance of fat, he’s basing that statement on the FDA’s low-fat/high-carbohydrate dietary guidelines, which in turn are based on … absolutely nothing. There’s no science behind those guidelines; they were simply made up by a congressional committee.
  • Kids who were diagnosed as suffering from ADD have been successfully treated by re-introducing natural saturated fats into their diets. Your brain is made largely of fat.
  • Many epileptics have reduced or eliminated seizures by adopting a diet low in sugar and starch and high in saturated animal fats.
  • Despite everything you’ve heard about saturated fat being linked to cancer, that link is statistically weak. However, there is a strong link between sugar and cancer. In Europe, doctors tell patients, “Sugar feeds cancer.”
  • Being fat is not, in and of itself, bad for your health. The behaviors that can make you fat – eating excess sugar and starch, not getting any exercise – can also ruin your health, and that’s why being fat is associated with bad health. But it’s entirely possible to be fat and healthy. It’s also possible to be thin while developing Type II diabetes and heart disease.
  • Saturated fat and cholesterol help produce testosterone. When men limit their saturated fat, their testosterone level drops. So, regardless of what a famous vegan chef believes, saturated fat does not impair sexual performance.

Woo hoo! Three cheers for the mainstream, high-volume, low-quality, cheaply produced food industry! Say it with me folks… “Follow the money!” Refined sugars, vegetable oils, enriched grains, boxed or canned foods, fast food… what do they all have in common?

  1. They cost less to produce
  2. They result in more profits
  3. They last longer on the shelf
  4. They offer “convenience” to the consumer
  5. Most importantly… they offer the minimum amount of nutrition to be considered FOOD.

In our next article, I think I’ll list some words that we hear regularly and see on “food” advertisements… and then give you the true definitions. Until then, take care.

Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Myth

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, July 15, 2010

Did you know a leading heart surgeon is calling for a ban on butter? Seriously! He explains that obesity and rising rates of heart disease are because children are starting out the day with toast and butter. Okay… are you ready for it? Say it with me folks: FOLLOW THE MONEY! Turns out, this “respected authority” is associated with a major manufacturer of … margarine. Don’t you just love it when they make it this easy? A great question posed by contributing editor Jon Herring of Total Health Breakthroughs was, “Why the butter and not the toast? Two slices of bread contain the equivalent carbohydrates of five teaspoons of sugar. And elevated blood sugar has been directly associated with heart disease.”

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… Cholesterol levels and saturated fats DO NOT correlate to the risk for heart disease! In fact, if you’ll recall, I previously wrote about the Framingham Heart Study which showed that after the age of 50 (when 90% of all heart attacks occur), lower cholesterol levels are clearly associated with a shorter life expectancy. I recently came across an article written by Mr. Herring titled The Greatest Scam in Medical History. Since he’s already done the hard work, I’ll credit him and repost a portion of his article here (emphasis and notations are mine). The entire article he’s written is worth the read, so click the link and check it out when you get a chance.

There have been about 30 long-term population studies that have attempted to link saturated fat to heart disease. Of those, only four have shown even the weakest association. And all four had major disqualifications: they were either too small to be significant, they did not isolate the variables properly, or they showed a slight decrease in heart deaths but an increase in death due to cancer.

But population studies are notoriously unreliable anyway. The gold standard among health studies are controlled, randomized trials. And not a single study of this nature has ever shown definitive evidence that saturated-fat consumption leads to heart disease. In fact, many have shown the exact opposite!

Authors of the MR-FIT trial were determined to prove the case. They enrolled 350,000 men, all of whom were considered at high risk of heart disease. In one set of participants, cholesterol consumption was reduced by 42%, saturated fat by 28%, and total calories by 21%.

What happened? Nothing. The authors referred to the results as “disappointing,” stating that “The overall results do not show a beneficial effect on Coronary Heart Disease or total mortality from this multifactor intervention.”

The Women’s Health Initiative was a huge government study, costing almost three quarters of a billion dollars. Among 20,000 women in the study who adhered to a diet low saturated fat diet for eight years, there was no reduction in the rates of heart-disease or stroke.

Then there was the Cochrane Collaboration, in 2000. This group rigorously selected 27 low-fat and cholesterol-lowering trials to review (more than 200 trials were rejected). Their conclusion was that diets low in saturated fat have “no significant effect” on heart attack mortality. Lead researcher Lee Hooper, PhD, said “I was disappointed that we didn’t find something more definitive.”

Or how about something more recent?

This month, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a review of 21 studies. The studies ranged from 5 to 23 years in length and encompassed 347,747 subjects. In the authors’ own words: “Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD [coronary heart disease], stroke, or CVD [cerebrovascular disease].”

In 1988, U.S. Surgeon General’s office decided to end the confusion. They set out to finally prove the causal link between saturated fat and heart disease. After 11 years, the project was abandoned. The Surgeon General’s office stated that they, “did not anticipate fully the magnitude of the additional external expertise and staff resources that would be needed.” Sure! After more than a decade of trying, the government just “just didn’t have the resources.”

Scientists and researchers are supposed to have an open mind. They are not supposed to be dogmatic and swayed by politics and peer pressure. But that is exactly what the majority of scientists and doctors have proven of themselves. It is not terribly surprising. Massive industries and shining scientific careers have been built on this faulty theory.

If it were not so tragic, it would be funny to listen to them explain away contradictory findings and make excuses for why their studies don’t match their hoped-for conclusions. The most common excuses are that the “trial didn’t last long enough” or they “didn’t lower the saturated-fat intake enough.” It seems that option number three never crosses their mind… perhaps the entire hypothesis is wrong!

Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD has called the saturated fat theory of heart disease “one of the greatest and most harmful misconceptions in the history of medicine.” Dr. George Mann called it the “public health diversion of the century.”

And the problem is not just the wasted time and billions of dollars dedicated to an unscientific myth. The bigger problem is that undue focus on the saturated fat bugaboo has stolen attention from the REAL causes of heart disease. And perhaps even worse, is that many of the dietary recommendations to reduce heart disease have actually been shown to CAUSE heart disease (not to mention cancer, diabetes and obesity).

If you truly want to protect yourself from the nation’s number one killer, don’t smoke and reduce your stress levels. At least the medical authorities have gotten those two right. And when it comes to your diet, forget about saturated fat and cholesterol. Here is what you should do instead:

• Consume more monounsaturated fats from sources like olive oil, nuts, avocados and avocado oil

• Cut out the sugar and refined carbohydrates

• Consume more omega-3 fatty acids, from wild game, grass-fed beef and bison, sardines and wild (not farm-raised) salmon. And take an omega-3 fish oil supplement.

• And reduce as much as possible omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. These come primarily from conventionally raised meats, processed foods, fried foods and vegetable and seed oils (corn, soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, etc.)

Posted in General Health, Nutrition, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Weight Loss, Better Health… Awesome Story

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, July 5, 2010

I want to extend a well-earned congratulations to one of our patients who has lost 80 pounds in 20 weeks! I’d also like to thank Steve for granting me permission to write about his story and reprint an article published about him. Steve has been a patient and friend for many years. I am so proud and happy for him and his accomplishments! Kudos, buddy!!!

Here is an article that was written about him in Carondelet Connection, a periodical published for employees of the behemoth Carondelet Health Care System.

Steps Add Up to Weight Loss, Better Health

When Steve Clarke makes up his mind to do something, it’s as good as done. Five months ago, he weighed about 285 pounds and says he was “fed up with not being able to breathe well doing simple things like tying my shoes.” Clarke works in Environmental Services at St. Mary’s Medical Center and has to walk throughout the medical center while on the job. He decided to take off some weight.

Today, you’d be lucky to keep up with him. Clarke dropped 80 pounds in 20 weeks the “old-fashioned way” – through diet and exercise. He started following the program his wife joined – counting points to determine how much he should eat. The plan encourages exercise and at about the same time, SM [sic] opened its fitness center to associates and Clarke became a big fan of the treadmills.

“I try to walk about four to five miles a day,” says Clarke. That’s in addition to the miles he puts in on the job. “I’ll walk at a pace of about 4.7 miles per hour for a while, then slow down a bit; then go back to 4.7 again.” When the weather’s nice, Clarke walks outside – on the fitness trail at SM or around his neighborhood.

Equally as impressive as the weight loss are the other health improvements Clarke has made. He used to take medication to control his blood pressure – not any more. His resting heart rate went from “about 80 beats per minute” to under 50. His total cholesterol dropped from 234 to 153. His LDL level dropped in half – from 141 to 71.

“I’ve lost weight at other times in my life, but never saw the big improvements in my numbers like I’m seeing this time,” says Clarke. He credits exercise, plus eating the two teaspoons of olive oil daily his eating plan calls for. He says exercise has become a routine he will continue because there’s no doubt about the difference it has made in his life.

Once again, congratulations, Steve! You are an inspiration, and a prime example of how healthy we can be if we just get back to the basics. Steve didn’t need medications to lose weight. He didn’t need a lap-band… a stapling procedure… growth hormones… over-priced multilevel juices… questionable supplements…  the latest infomercial gadget… or any other fad that has come and gone. Steve has just decided to make different choices. Better food choices, better portion sizes, and regular exercise is all it took. And look at all of the other unexpected benefits that came along with those healthy choices!!!

Steve graciously stated that he credits regular chiropractic care in our office with being a contributor to his achievements. Although I would love to take the credit, the admiration and respect remains with him. Chiropractic is but one tool he uses to achieve his health care goals. A little willpower, and some self-responsibility are the most important tools… and Steve’s got plenty of each!

The power that made the body, heals the body. Too often we think it’s our medicines making us well. We credit this technique, that gadget, this other treatment, etc… for “healing us.” Well, that’s just bull! Our bodies heal themselves. Any health care option we choose is just a means of trying to assist the body in healing itself. Our goal is to get the body to do what it’s supposed to do. Think about it. It’s not the band-aid that heals a scrape. It’s the body’s innate ability to recognize a problem and find a solution. Where we come in as health care providers is in assisting the body when there is dysfunction. Chiropractic seeks to optimize neuromusculoskeletal function thereby allowing the body to operate optimally. Antibiotics seek to assist the body’s immune system in fighting off bacterial infections. If you look at how tons of health options are designed, most of them are just designed to assist the body.

Therefore, as with Steve’s case, if you feed the body optimal nutrition and take care of it… it needs less assistance. Simple as that. Steve changed how he was taking care of his body, and it responded by recovering it’s ability to take care of itself.

Dr. James C. Gray

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Preventing Diabetes

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Diabetes currently affects almost 21 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Even more alarming is that the age of onset has dropped dramatically. It used to be that diabetes was primarily a “senior” disease, affecting those over age 45. Sadly, this is not the case any more.

There are two main types of diabetes: type I, which usually is diagnosed in childhood and requires insulin; and type II, which does not require insulin treatment but may require medication. Most cases (about 95 percent) are type II, which can be prevented in the overwhelming majority of cases with proper diet and exercise. What is particularly frightening is the rise in type II diabetes among children.

The effects of diabetes can be felt, literally, from head to toe, according to the CDC.

  • People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a stroke than those without the disease.
  • Poorly controlled blood sugar may lead to glaucoma and blindness.
  • Gum disease and high blood sugar are related.
  • Diabetes, particularly in conjunction with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, may lead to heart disease.
  • Kidney damage may result from diabetes, especially in combination with high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes has been linked to male sexual dysfunction (impotence).
  • Nerves in the feet may become damaged, sometimes leading to amputation.

Fortunately, there are much easier and less dangerous ways to not only control diabetes if you have it, but actually prevent getting it in the first place. Both the CDC and the National Institutes of Health agree that there are two basic elements to this: exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week; and eat foods low in fat and reduce total caloric intake. Pay attention not only to the types of food you eat, but also the portions. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the following:

  • Eat a variety of fruits (2 cups per day for a 2,000 calorie diet) instead of just juice. You can have these fresh, frozen, dried or canned. An example would be: one small banana, one large orange and ¼ cup of dried apricots or peaches.
  • Make your veggies more colorful by adding dark green (broccoli, kale, spinach) and bright orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and other winter squashes). Also add more beans and peas to the mix (kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils).
  • Eat more calcium for healthy bones. The USDA recommends three cups of low-fat or fat-free milk per day. You can substitute the same amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (1 ½ ounces of cheese is equal to one cup of milk). Try lactose-free milk if you have trouble digesting dairy products.
  • Focus on whole grains. Make them at least half of your total grain intake. Try to eat at least 3 ounces of whole grains per day. This is equal to one slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta.
  • Go lean with the protein. Opt for lean meats such as chicken or fish. Be sure to prepare it in a healthy manner, such as baking or broiling. Don’t forget that nuts, beans and peas are also good sources of protein.

The point is that while it might seem that preventing a major disease such as diabetes is a daunting task, it actually isn’t. All it really takes is common sense, a bit of creative planning and a positive attitude. With these three things, you are well on your way to success.

– taken from Sweet Success, To Your Health March, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 03)

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Easy Grocery Store Health

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, March 4, 2010

I am often asked what foods are the most important and easiest to add to a daily diet to help with nutrition and health. Here are eight foods readily available at your local grocery store that can easily be added to your weekly diet:

  1. Cruciferous Vegetables – This is a family of vegetables that includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, radish, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, arugula, and watercress. These foods have been shown to prevent and fight cancer by enhancing the elimination of carcinogens before they can damage DNA, and by altering cell signaling pathways in a manner that helps prevent normal cells from being transformed into cancerous cells. They are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and other life-giving, disease-fighting compounds.
  2. Apples – The many benefits of apples have been documented extensively. Here’s a short list: normalize cholesterol levels, decrease metabolic syndrome, retard cancer cell growth, cut smoker’s risk of COPD in half, improve lung function, decrease bone loss… this list could go on and on.
  3. Berries – Berries are a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. They are high in vitamin D, folic acid, and manganese. They also contain cancer fighting carotenoids, tannins, ellagitannins and gallic acid, as well as quercetin and eye protective lutein. And just as with apples, the seeds of berries are a good source of the anti-cancer vitamin B 17, or laetrile. Berries are also among the best sources of antioxidants which fight against chronic diseases associated with the aging process.
  4. Spinach – Spinach is an excellent source of energy boosting iron, an integral component of hemoglobin which transports oxygen to all body cells. Cancer is only able to grow in cells where the oxygen level is deficient. Spinach also contains at least 13 flavonoid compounds that act as antioxidants and anti-cancer agents, particularly for stomach-, breast-, and skin cancer. A carotenoid called neoxanthin induces prostate cancer cells to self-destruct. Spinach is also high in vitamin K, vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, riboflavin, and vitamin A.
  5. Beans & Lentils – These vegetables provide soluble fiber that passes through the digestive tract grabbing and trapping bile that contains cholesterol, and removing it from the body. Eating a cup of cooked beans a day reduces risk of heart attack by almost 40%. This soluble fiber also creates more insulin receptor sites for insulin molecules to connect to, allowing insulin to get to the cells that need it, instead of floating freely through the bloodstream.
  6. Nuts & Seeds – Eating these foods five or more times a week reduces your risk of heart attack by a whopping 60%. Research shows that people who eat nuts are generally thinner, have lower levels of LDL cholesterol and better bones. They are also at a lower risk for cancer and inflammation.
  7. Salmon – This superfood really needs its own article to list all its health benefits. Eating just two servings of wild caught salmon a week provides as much omega-3 essential fatty acids as taking daily fish oil supplements. Omega-3 fats help prevent erratic heart rhythms, make blood less likely to clot inside arteries, improve the ratio of cholesterol, and prevent cholesterol from becoming damaged and thereby preventing clogged arteries. It has anti-inflammatory properties on a par with prescription drugs but without the side effects, and is also able to lower high levels of triglycerides. It is a tremendous source of the B vitamins including B12 that normalize blood pressure and promote heart health. Eating salmon as little as 1 to 3 times per month offers protection against stroke caused by lack of blood supply to the brain. Eating it 4 times a month reduces the risk of deep vein thrombosis by 30-45%, and the risk for atherosclerosis.
  8. Turkey – Fantastic lean source of proteins, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

It doesn’t take too much work to eat right, and you don’t have to be so restrictive. The best rule to live by is to increase your intake of good stuff, limit your intake of bad stuff,… and enjoy life!

Sources:
Barbara L. Minton, Natural News.com
Silvina Lotito, Ph.d., “Why Apples Are Healthful”, Linus Pauling Institute Research Report.
“Why Blueberries are Healthful”, Blueberry Council.
“Cruciferous Vegetables”, Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
“Spinach”, WHFoods.
“Nutritional Benefits of Beans”, essortment.
“Salmon”, WHFoods.
“Turkey”, WHFoods.

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